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PG.8

HOOKED: AN INQUIRY INTO HABIT FORMING PRODUCTS

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THE SYNERGY OF CREATIVITY & INNOVATION


TABLE OF CONTENT

ISSUE 01

04

What exactly is Blockchain technology?

06

The financial markets Are going mobile

should come first: 09 Who The employees or the clients?

10

The role of technology In investment industry.

12

Photography as a Storytelling Tool

14

Embracing Machine Learning in The enterprise Setting

16

Technology and its impact On the Real Estate industry

19

Human Resourse Functions transformed

21

The role of Technology In investment Industry.


04

06

10

09

15

17


WHAT EXACTLY IS BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY? Imagine an election without an electoral board to coordinate and oversee the election process. Or transacting money without going through a bank. Imagine making calls to people directly without having to use a service provider. Seems impossible, no? I mean, where is the middle man? Who governs, directs and oversees the interactions of concerned parties? And what are the rules to play by? Enter Blockchain technology. A transformational kind of technology that processes and stores sensitive information on a variety of computers, instead of just having it all in a single place. With this technology, instead of having all transactional information stored and processed in a bank for example, bits and pieces of each transaction are distributed to a number of users, where they are sufficiently protected from erasure, alteration, and revision using a type of security software called cryptography. In the world of Blockchain, there is a public electronic ledger that is openly shared to users in the network, every transaction created is unchangeable and inerasable, with each record being uniquely identified by a signature and linked to the previous record, thereby creating a chain. Each transaction in the chain is a block, hence the name Blockchain.

WHAT IS ALL THE HYPE ABOUT? The world of tech is abuzz with talk of Blockchain. Everyone wants to know about it and reap the benefits of being an early adapter because despite the technology still being in its early development stages, major firms like IBM, Microsoft, Visa, JPMorgan Chase and Walmart among others, are already looking into ways of putting the technology into use. Some experts are calling it ‘the next big thing after the Internet’, thanks to the success of Bitcoin, the most commonly known application of Blockchain technology.

All pomp and flare aside, extreme caution should be taken when it comes to using this technology, so as to avoid catching the ‘We Apply AI in our products’ disease, where companies just throw in the word ‘AI’, even for applications and products that are not necessarily AI, just for the sheer purpose of gaining clout.

Okay, we know about Bitcoin. Is that all this technology has to offer? Just digital financial transactions? Ginny Rometty, CEO of IBM says, “Anything that you can conceive of as a supply chain, Blockchain can vastly improve its efficiency – it doesn’t matter if it’s people, numbers, data, money.” That is to say that anything in the world of business goes! Until recently, Bitcoin was the only application of Blockchain known. Now, numerous efforts are ongoing all over the world, to apply the transformational technology into a variety of areas so as to improve security and efficiency. Smart digital contracts are now becoming a possibility. They are termed smart because they self-execute, as long as the conditions to be met are programmed into the software. For example, if I have an agreement with a media house that they will pay me $50 when this article is published, all that needs to be done to get the smart contract going is for the conditions, the amount and concerned parties to be programmed into the contract. Once these are met, the contract self-executes and $50 is released and sent to me. Storj, a start-up company, is using Blockchain technology to provide distributed cloud storage, so that you don’t have to entrust your data and information to one single service provider. It also lets users rent out any excess storage


space they might have, thereby creating more demand and supply. Seamless voting and credible vote tallying is now possible thanks to Blockchain. This is so because once a vote has been cast, it is unchangeable once recorded and all votes are made public via a digital ledger. This promises better security during elections, with less human interference and consequently, more credible election results. Sierra Leone made history in March 2018, by being the first country not only in Africa, but in the world, to use Blockchain technology to tally and verify votes. It keeps getting interesting; Blockchain is now being used in farming. In France, one company is working out a way of using the technology to keep track of chicken, from the point of hatching to their growth and sale thereafter, to ensure that only healthy chickens are taken to market!

So, is Blockchain really kingdom come for the bureaucratic issues in the economic, legal and political currently affecting the world? It is without doubt that Blockchain technology is going to transform how business is carried out within the next two decades. However, let us not get ahead of ourselves. The technology is relatively new, and with new technologies come a number of factors to consider before you excitedly jump onto the bandwagon. For starters, it is not in the very least cheap. In 2017 alone, it was said that the computing power required to keep the Bitcoin network running, consumed energy equivalent to what was used by 159 countries in the same year. Additionally, there are security issues that still need to be ironed out. Cryptocurrency heists have rocked many a network, and left users counting losses in millions. Also, the fact that the ledger is distributed and consensus-based, means that if majority of users put their mark of approval on an illegal transaction, it becomes legal. Worthy to note is that Blockchain is not going away any time soon and it will only get better. It is a foundational kind of technology that could transform how the world works, and governments and businesses need to be ready to adapt to whatever changes it brings, if they want to stay afloat.


THE FINANCIAL MARKETS ARE GOING MOBILE Mobile phones have become part and parcel of our day to day lives. Studies show that the average person spends around 4 hours of their day on their phone. Now you may ask, 4 hours doing what? There is a myriad of things one would do depending on their interests, but the most common ones are communication and entertainment. We are either responding to emails, chats or messages or reading our favorite book or keeping up with the latest news on social media or even keeping ourselves busy playing a game. Mobile devices have changed from just being a communication tool to defining how we interact with the world. The time spent interacting with a mobile device should not be seen as an addiction but a representation of cultural shift. Since we have established that mobile devices and apps that come with them are here to stay, what does it mean for the financial markets. Spending four hours on a mobile device each day is quite a bit of time that could be channeled to more productive areas such as economic selfgrowth. In the stock markets, the traditional method of buying and selling stocks is identifying a stock you wish to purchase or sell, then call up your stock broker and inform them of the decision you have made so that they can effect it for you. This is now changing to a more efficient and advanced form of trading whereby a user can simply access the app, view real time data on the performance of various stocks and make decisions if to buy or sell stocks, all on their mobile device. In the lending sector, the trend is that clients now request for loans through their mobile applications then the loans are approved and disbursed within a few minutes and the person acquires the funds on their phone using providers such as M-Pesa or Airtel Money or directly to their bank accounts. Banks too have had an attempt at getting a slice of the cake and have been successful. Most banks now have a mobile application and use it as one of the selling points when attracting new customers and retaining current customers. With mobile banking apps customers can manage their accounts from any location and make instructions. This goes a long way in creating a better banking experience for customers and reducing the costs incurred by banks in maintaining banking halls. This trend has seen several banks close down branches as clients transition to digital platforms.

The insurance industry has seen a fair share of success using mobile apps. Recently Jubilee insurance unveiled JubiAgent Medical and JubiAgent Motor which enable agents to sell and service Jubilee insurance’s solutions. These applications go a long way in acquiring customers, retaining current ones, simplifying and expediting the claims process. These are just a few areas in which mobile apps are giving businesses the competitive age over their competitors. Mobile apps have proven to be a game changer, and an important arsenal to have within your business. The future of mobile apps is very bright and new apps are bound to emerge stronger and better than the ones currently dominating the market.


WHO SHOULD COME FIRST: THE EMPLOYEES OR THE CLIENTS?


It assaults our ears everywhere: “Clients above all else. Clients are the top priority. Blah. Blah. Blah.” Sure, the core business of any firm is to create maximum value for its clients. After all, clients are the ones who bring in all the money. Instinctively, it makes more sense to put clients first. On closer inspection, however, it is revealed that putting clients first is misguided. Let us think about it critically. What is the source of client value? Employees are. Most people have to give themselves a pep talk before going for services in certain offices because they know that they are going to have a bad day right after. A disgruntled employee can never deliver good client service. This is a no-brainer. Last week, I was having a conversation with an older friend who is on the brink of quitting her job. Let’s call her Kristi. Kristi extensively complained about the numerous things she hated about her firm and the soul-sucking (her words, not mine) job she does. She actually loves her job description meaning she is not there simply for the pay - but at the same time feels as though she pours her heart into work that largely goes unappreciated. Brilliant people like my pal Kristi would rather not be stuck in firms where it is rubbed in their faces that they are relatively less important than the clients. Furthermore, they want to work in places where their work is recognized. Employees are every firm’s greatest asset. Management has no choice but to put in the effort if they are to retain their top talent. Just like delightful client experience defines the extent of client retention, positive employee experience is the new contract between employer and employee. The number of ways to keep employees satisfied is only limited by your imagination. One really effective way to achieve this goal is to take appraisal from employees seriously. Firms use various metrics to determine how satisfied they are with their employees. In the same vein, it is crucial that management measures how satisfied their employees are with the firm. This can be done easily using metrics like the employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS). From this data, they should be able to identify exactly what employees do not like and fix it. Of course, this would only be effective if employees trusted the management enough not to feel as though the feedback channel was a trap that would see them get fired for their honesty. When management prioritizes the employees and constantly reminds them that they come first, the firm can confidently promise their clients high-quality services and results. It is basic psychology: happy employees = happy clients. The ultimate goal of any forward-thinking management team should be to create a differentiated employee experience. An experience so good that it would keep the attrition rate to a bare minimum even in the absence of a bonding clause in an employee’s contract. It is a fact that a firm’s attrition rate is a KPI of positive employee experience. It means that the firm effectively takes care of its employees. If done properly, the employees will, in turn, take care of the clients who will then take care of the firm and its stakeholders.


THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY IN INVESTMENT INDUSTRY. Technology has always been regarded as an enabler for business transformation. It is quickly becoming a disruptor of the traditional business models, and thus cannot be overlooked. The investment industry is dynamic and sensitive to delivery and turnaround times for data capture, processing, information sharing, and storage.

are also having a significant impact on the investment world that uses algorithmic decision making. These solutions work hand in hand with data analytics and visualization. AI and machine learning can leverage on big data and visualization to discover market entry and exit signals, as well as have robo- advisors.

One of the advantages that a firm in the investment industry can have is speed. Whether on getting research to the client or getting an order into the market quicker than the competition. This is where technology comes into play and provides a competitive advantage. An investment industry can perform without Technology, however, there would be dramatic differences and inefficiencies.

While it can be argued out that putting 100% reliance on technology does not seem realistic, a human security check can act as a safety mechanism to counter-check the suggestions provided by artificial intelligence. 2 A typical investment analyst today cannot work alone. He/she will be in a team, and from time to time, will have to communicate with people in other countries or offices.

Technology has become a cornerstone of the investment industry. It provides the means to deliver data to investors, potential and existing clients, as well as to the public. Technology provides automated systems that facilitate complex calculations to be performed at ease, and providing consolidated information at a glance. This is one quick tap to get vast information is critical. Investment information can be varied since the variables being considered are many.

Technology comes into play here, to provide communication and collaboration. This makes it easy for the teams to stay on the same page while making decisions. Investment analysts should not be confined to physical space when looking at and for information.

Systems such as Bloomberg do such analysis and provides the team with easy to use and already computed values. After this data has been computed, data visualization follows suit. As stated, investment data is complex to look at. Data visualization, while leveraged by augmented or virtual reality can make it a lot easier to spot trends and make sense out of a large amount of information. While still at this, big data and data science has quickly taken shape and is already in use in most firms. This entails analyzing data, so at to get insights from it, which can then be deployed to enhance operations, launch new products or gain competitive advantage. Such analytics can provide useful information to identify, assess and record opportunities, as well as advise on options, risk and do a cost-benefit analysis. Technology provides the means to achieve this, as well as enhance data and information management, for easier retrieval and reference. Artificial Intelligence and Automation

Mobility and cyber security is another impact role that technology plays in the investment industry. Investment opportunities and information can be provided on the go. But if you are not in a position to access such information, you might be at a loss. To this end, technology provides mechanisms to enhance mobility and ensure an always-on option to access information. To achieve this, cybersecurity has to be in effect. This ensures that critical and confidential information concerning a firm remains secure. Hacking, ransomware and unauthorized access are some of the challenges that cybersecurity comes in to solve. Any firm in the investment industry wants to have private data remain private, lest it falls into the hands of competitors, thereby, losing a competitive edge. For any client-focused firm, getting information to clients in the most convenient way is vital. Technology has changed the preferences of clients and materialized new ways to get information. At the core, what a firm needs to do is ensure that information is sent to clients quickly and in a secure and in a secure manner to dispel fears of information hijacking


and tampering. Technology has enabled this, as well as taking advantage of multi-channel relationships with client and maximizing client interaction through interactive and user-friendly portals, that are rich in content. All this fosters and improves client experience as well as client service. This list would not have been complete without talking about one of the new and fast- growing disciplines in technology; Blockchain. Blockchain is a way of creating and validating transactions from person to person, in simple terms. This technology will ideally reduce commissions, enhance security while trading, eliminate fraud, and increase the speed of transactions. Blockchain represents a unique opportunity for everyone in the investment industry to get educated on it and how it can be applied in their firm since

this technology has the potential to transform the industry. All of these technology roles in investment industry are backed by the growth and changes in the IT world. Infrastructure components such as increased computing power and security systems make it possible for these solutions to be effective and serve the 3 purpose. However, they are not cheap, and an investment firm needs to evaluate and deploy the solution that best suits their needs and delivers a return on value. Technology will continue to disrupt the investment industry. The best that a firm in this industry should do is stay adapt and adapt to changes as they come and tune their systems to reflect to the changing market demands as well as client needs, lest they become obsolete.


PHOTOGRAPHY AS A STORYTELLING TOOL

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Does this photograph communicate something meaningful to the viewer? Storytelling photography is literally telling stories through photographs. To me, storytelling photography can be represented on a continuum. Sometimes it is 100% photojournalistic in nature, usually referred to as documentary photography, and at other times it may be subtly directed or manipulated erring more towards what some might term lifestyle photography. As photographers, that’s one of our goals: To move beyond recording an event at the surface level. Our photography takes on a whole new shape and form when we discover we want to say something with our pictures. As we discover and rediscover our personal vision, we learn new ways to connect with our audience. As we grow as photographers we become confident in our ability to reach someone in their heart, in their gut, and get individuals to take action and make a difference. Just as a mature dancer or experienced musician bring more depth to a performance with time and experience, photographers bring that sense of life experience, too. Photographs are a reflection of who we are as people and also tell the story of our relationship to the subject. The key question to ask yourself when reviewing an image is, ‘Does this photograph communicate something meaningful to the viewer?’ A good storytelling image will captivate the viewer by speaking to their hearts and minds. It should inspire them and stir their creative juices. Photography is powerful, and whether you choose to tell a story with a single image or a series of images, there are tricks and techniques to deliver an effective message. What sets a good storytelling image apart from a snapshot?

Practice patience

Capturing emotion

Embracing movement Real estate tells a beautiful story. From the groundbreaking to the standing of a majestic building that boasts of all its glory. The photos of any project should show the progress of its growth and development. Drone photography has taken the entire real estate industry by storm, with everyone from agents to developers and advertising agencies choosing to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to get that ultimate video footage or still shots of someone’s soon-to- be dream home. Thanks to UAVs, the vast sweeping shot of a property and its surrounding areas is no longer a luxury reserved for exclusive addresses and big spenders. Drone footage is simply property storytelling in a unique format, albeit one that insists you have a license, and provides prospective buyers with a better idea of the property even before the doors have opened for inspection. Building a narrative around a property is a clever way of evoking emotion, and by setting cinematic drone footage to a soaring soundtrack, you can emote to a buyer what it could feel like to live there.


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EMBRACING MACHINE LEARNING IN THE ENTERPRISE SETTING So what is this animal called Machine Learning that has everyone in the market adopting? Machine learning has varying definitions depending on the author, article you read, or one’s understanding. I like to define Machine learning as a branch of artificial intelligence that provides systems with the ability to learn and act like humans, while also improving their learning over time through observations and real-world interactions without being explicitly programmed. In technical terms, it’s simply a set of algorithms with the ability to learn, act and adapt autonomously without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning can be applied in various departments in one’s organization to achieve different tasks. Let’s have a look at how machine learning can be of use in the different departments:

Human Resourses Screening and Classifying candidates Identify attrition risk Recommend personalized training for employees

Sales and Marketing Project your sales based on the historical data Identify customer behavior over time

Finance Project expenses based on past figures Fraud Detection


These are just but a few uses of machine learning in an enterprise. It’s good to remember that machine learning needs data to function. Data is key. Machine learning augments a good strategy bringing you closer to your vision by transforming business problems into user solutions thus enabling continuous improvement. Machine learning depicts a fundamental change in the way companies approach their problems and how decisions are arrived at. Thus for machine learning to have an impact in the enterprise, the C-suite executives and managers need take up the initiative and drive it. To sum it all up, any enterprise that recognizes opportunities posed by machine learning and applies it in the right areas sets itself on the path of leading the pack.


TECHNOLOGY AND ITS IMPACT ON THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY Opportunities for the Kenya market. The real estate tech sector is slowly being redefined by ever changing market conditions and shifts in consumer behaviors. As Peter Williams, CEO Deloitte Digital, said “Real estate agents will not be replaced by technology but by agents with technology�. The real estate industry will not be replaced by a single technological solution, but rather the changes in the industry will be enabled by technology and the leaders will be those that embrace it. The solution will not be found in the acquisition of hardware, but in the adoption of innovative solutions that will largely be software solutions, applications and platforms. The Kenyan real estate industry continues to expand as investor appetite grows alongside the customer base. While this is happening, change is inevitable for any real estate company that wants to remain competitive. The shift towards real estate technology cannot be ignored anymore. As the industry evolves, individual companies will fight to become undisputed leaders by offering solutions such as renewable energy and smart homes that are beyond real estate products and services, in order to have a tight grip on customer loyalty. As technology and innovation continue to shape the real estate industry, emerging real estate tech companies are creating an opportunity to become leaders in the new digital real estate ecosystem. Some of the key areas to focus on for Kenyan real estate tech companies are highlighted below: Big Data From driving business decisions to creating better consumer experiences, big data can have a lot of influence on your business. Many real estate businesses collect a lot of data that sit in silo repositories without any analytics being done to pick out industry trends or behaviors of their consumers. Real estate companies wanting to target the right clients need to know who they are, when they want to buy, where they are, and how they can reach them in the most effective manner. Harnessing big data is an invaluable tool in targeting the right buyers and an important element in refining the real estate process. Real estate companies like Bowery, Enertiv, Coldwell Banker amongst others are harnessing the power of big data to be able to target their clients with the right products, and position their products in the most effective manner.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning is the art of computers teaching themselves on how to improve the way they perform their tasks based on previous experience or through pattern recognition. Such systems are in use by real estate investors to effectively control expenses, manage risks and gain higher returns using algorithms that are designed to predict and factor in individual investor concerns. Real estate search analytics is 2 improving the way prospective buyers are matched with desirable properties, amplifying the broker’s labor


Some of the AI tools in use include chatbots to automate answering of frequently asked questions, investor analytics that sets income and growth goals and monitors through an intelligent robot as well as loan default predictors that are able to access risk and focus on profitable investments only.

The Internet of Things: The Internet of Things (IoT) is a key component of home automation and smart homes. This involves automating the ability to control items around the house from curtains to electricity with a hand-held device or voice command. Smart home technology has started changing the way home owners view property. It is becoming a game changer for real estate developers in Kenya. Instead of selling a shell for a house, developers are enticing buyers with internet ready homes. It is also anticipated that there will come a point when real estate agents use IoT for home searches. The practice of consumers going online and pecking their way to their perfect home will be replaced with voice driven applications embedded on phones, that are able to automatically answer any questions they have.

Building Technology: With the increased demand for low cost housing with less impact on the environment, real estate developers in Kenya are left with no choice but to consider innovative ways of building houses. The areas of focus include using prefab building material and modular construction where a building is constructed offsite and then assembled onsite. In 2014 Winsun, a company based in China pioneered a 3D printed house. Compared with the traditional construction methods, they were able to save up on 80% of the construction costs and 60% on labour. This are just a few of the innovative ideas that real estate companies are exploring globally in order to reduce cost.

Augmented and Virtual Reality: Virtual Reality (VR) enables customers to tour pre- development or ready house units from anywhere in the world. Real estate developers, hoteliers and other businesses are using the technology to give their prospective clients a feel of the product virtually. Using real time technology and devices, like the Samsung Gear VR Virtual Reality headset, real estate developers can show off the progress of the houses under development as well as completed units. Companies like Blackrhino VR in Kenya, are commercializing the potential that VR holds in selling property developments both off-the- plan and finished. Through the power of virtual reality, they allow prospective buyers to walk through and experience the space even before construction has started.

Real Estate Operations Automation: To remain competitive, real estate companies have to look out for better ways to increase efficiency, differentiate and position 3 their products and services as they build customer loyalty. With a robust back-office operation, the company can have visibility of a customer life cycle from the time they were prospects till when they become landlords or tenants. Automating your customer relationship management, portfolio management and facilities management, the companies are able to address challenges such as cost efficiency and communication between different stakeholders.

Real Estate on Demand:

Here are the ways in which one can embrace technology: Automate your back-office operations. This will enable you collect data about your clients. There are simple customer relationship management and property management tools that you can subscribe too and start using immediately.

As you collect more data, invest in business analytics that will pick out trends in your consumer behaviour. This in return enables you to target the client with the right products and services and reduce marketing efforts to the wrong market segment.

Invest in technologies that make it easier for your potential investors to make decisions about which of your properties to invest in e.g. Real Estate Simulators as well as those that differentiate your properties from the traditional four wall houses e.g. Smart Home solutions.

This is a concept where potential buyers are able to access and extract value from their products and services instantly. Consumers are notoriously impatient and expect instant gratification hence demand instant delivery for the goods and services they use. Companies like Amazon, Google, Jumia and Kilimall have already invested in same-day delivery, that is already revolutionizing the supply and distribution networks. In Real Estate, startup companies such as Naked Apartments, AgentPair, and Curbะกall are setting the pace. With their technology, they are able to connect potential buyers who want to prospect a home, with nearby real estate agents who are ready to take a new lead.

As real estate tech evolves, its certain that the industry is headed for a revolution. Real estate tech companies won't necessarily disrupt the industry but will disrupt those companies that refuse to embrace the change. Investing in technology as a real estate company is a key differentiator moving forward.


HUMAN RESOURSE FUNCTIONS TRANSFORMED When we joined Cytonn the company did not have a HR system and all the records were maintained in physical files and excels. The manual records resulted to loss of data, un-updated records and it was also difficult for employees to access this information since they needed to always contact the HR team and the HR team needed to be physical available in the office to retrieve the information. Due to these numerous challenges it was agreed that a HR system need to be developed so as to automate all the HR functions. The first step was to gather system requirements from the employees and the HR team. This was done by the system developer since at this point the company did not have a BSA team. Numerous meetings and discussions were held and the requirements were gathered, documented and approved. A module by module implementation approach was agreed upon and the processes started immediately. The first module was the Employees Records Management module. The designs of the module were done by the design team and upon their approval the development of the module started. The module handles all employees’ data which include personal information, employment details, education records and a documents section that stores all the scanned documents uploaded by the employees. After the development of the module all the information in the manual files was uploaded into the system and the system was launched. This enabled access of the information at any time and from any location, it also enabled the employees to validate and update the information ensuring that the company has the accurate information about the employees at all times. The system also works as a backup in the event of a loss of the physical files. The next urgent module was the Leave module. The data at the time was stored in an excel sheet and to apply for leave an employees needed to contact the excel custodian to confirm their leave balance. They would then need to fill a physical form that had to be approved by their manager and the HR team the taken to the excel sheet custodian. This process had so many challenges and was an inconvenience to the employees since they had to be physically present in the office to apply for leave and also seek physical approvals from the relevant approvers. This module automated the entire

process enabling the data to be maintained in the system. The application and approval process was also automated enabling employees to apply for leave online hence removing all physical processes. This enables the employees to apply for leave from anywhere including from the comfort of their beds. Emails are sent to the approvers and all they need to do is login into the system and approve. They also receive constant email reminders when there are leaves pending approval. The payroll management process was also automated. The entire process is now automated from salary records management, recurrent deduction automations and processing and approval of monthly payroll. The employees get notified once the payroll process closes and they can access their pay slips at any time from the system. The system also enables the employees to generate their P9 forms which are very important when filling tax. This automation ensures that there is no printing of the payroll and this ensures that this sensitive information is not accessed by unauthorized individuals. It has also increased the accuracy of the payroll and it has also enabled the company meet their goal of paying the employees by 25 th of every month. The other major module that we have developed the Talent Acquisition module which has fully streamlined the hiring process. It has a careers portal where all the open positions are advertised and allows candidates to apply for the positions and track the process progress. The portal also enables the hiring team to administer Aptitude Tests and Prescreens to the candidates. The module has an admin section which enables the hiring team to shortlist the candidates and send feedback at every stage. It also keeps a record of the applications history of all applicants. The hiring process is now fast and effective and has enabled the hiring team send feedback to all candidates at all stages. Other modules that have been developed include the Performance module which helps in tracking and evaluating the growth of the employee, the ESOP module which tracks employees shares ownership data and sends statements annually, the On-boarding and Off-boarding module and the Reports module which provides the HR and management team with various reports from all the above modules enabling them make informed decisions. The development process has been very exciting, automating processes, reducing the employees work and transforming employees lives by changing how they do thing and access information. It has been very fulfilling process and career transforming the team that has been involved in this process. The development process is not void of challenges such as unclear and changing requirements which at times results to development of the wrong functionality or a prolonged design and development of a module. Very tight timelines has also been a challenge since the development team is small and has not work on such a project before. We have however been able to overcome the challenges with the help of the management team and we a delivered a very robust system. We continue to add new functionalities to the system and support the existing modules with an aim of making all HR functionality seamless and also end up with a robust and world class HR system that can also be used by other companies globally.


We got your back... Human Resourses From payslip to leave approval. The system will work and assist in getting everything done

Cytonn Intranet Do you need assistance from the admin? providing you with a well structured platform that will assist in inventory and expense management

Project Management Providing sufficient and reliable backup that will help you manage your tasks and projects

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THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY IN INVESTMENT INDUSTRY. Technology has always been regarded as a business transformation enabler for transformation. This continues to be true, but technology is quickly becoming a disruptor of the traditional business models, and thus cannot be overlooked. The investment industry is dynamic and sensitive to delivery and turnaround times for data capture, processing, information sharing, and storage. One of the advantages that a firm in the investment industry can have is speed. Whether on getting research to the client or getting an order into the market quicker than the competitor. This is where technology comes into play and provides a competitive advantage. An investment industry can perform without Technology, however, there would be dramatic differences and inefficient as compared to how the industry is today. Technology has become a cornerstone of the investment industry. It provides the means to deliver data to investors, potential and existing clients, as well as to the public. Technology provides automated systems that facilitate complex calculations to be performed at ease, and providing consolidated information at a glance. This is one quick tap to get vast information is critical. Investment information can be varied since the variables being considered are many. Systems such as Bloomberg do such analysis and provides the team with easy to use and already computed values. After this data has been computed, data visualization follows suit. As stated, investment data is complex to look at. Data visualization, while leveraged by augmented or virtual reality can make it a lot easier to spot trends and make sense out of a large amount of information. While still at this, big data and data science has quickly taken shape and is already in use in most firms. This entails analyzing data, so at to get insights from it, which can then be deployed to enhance operations, launch new products or gain competitive advantage. Such analytics can provide useful information that can be used to identify assess and records opportunities, as well as advise on options, risk and do a cost- benefit analysis. Technology provides the means to achieve this, as well as enhance data and information management, for easier retrieval and reference. Artificial Intelligence and Automation are also having a significant impact on the investment world that uses algorithmic decision making. These solutions work hand in hand with data analytics and visualization.AI and machine learning can leverage on big data

and visualization to discover market entry and exit signals, as well as have robo- advisors. While it can be argued out that putting 100% reliance on technology does not seem realistic, a human security check can act as a safety mechanism to check in the suggestions provided by artificial intelligence. 2 A typical investment analyst today cannot work alone. He/she will be in a team, and from time to time, will have to communicate with people in other countries or offices. Technology comes into play here, to provide communication and collaboration. This makes it easy for the teams to stay on the same page while making decisions. Investment analysts should not be confined to physical space when looking at and for information. Mobility and cyber security is another impact role that technology places in the investment industry. Investment opportunities and information can be provided on the go. But if you are not in a position to access such information, you might be at a loss. To this end, technology provides mechanisms to enhance mobility and ensure an always-on option to access information. To achieve this, cybersecurity has to be in effect. This ensures that a critical and confidential information concerning a firm remains secure. Hacking, ransomware and unauthorized access are some of the challenges that cybersecurity comes in to solve. Any firm in the investment industry wants to have private data remain private, lest it falls into the hands of competitors, thereby, losing a competitive edge. For any client-focused firm, getting information to clients in the most convenient way is vital. Technology has changed the preferences of clients and new ways to get information have materialized. At the core, what a firm needs to do is ensure that information is sent to clients quickly and insecure means to dispel fears of information hijacking and tampering. Technology has enabled this, as well as taking advantage of multi-channel relationships with client and maximizing client interaction through interactive and user-friendly portals, that are rich in content. All this fosters and improves client experience as well as client service. This list would not have been complete without talking about one of the new and fast- growing disciplines in technology; Blockchain. The blockchain is a way of creating and validating transactions from person to person, in simple terms. This technology will ideally reduce commissions, enhance security while trading, eliminate fraud, and increase the speed of transactions. Blockchain represents a unique opportunity for everyone in the investment industry to get educated on it and how it can be applied in their firm since this technology has the potential to transform the industry. All of these technology roles in investment industry are backed by the growth and changes in the IT world. Infrastructure components such as increased computing power and security systems make it possible for these solutions to be effective and serve the 3 purpose. However, they are not cheap, and an investment firm needs to evaluate and deploy the solution that best suits their needs and delivers a return on value. Technology will continue to disrupt the investment industry. The best that a firm in this industry should do is stay adapt and accommodate to changes as they come and tune their systems to reflect to the changing market demands as well as client needs, lest they become obsolete.


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Focus Magazine 2018 H1  

Focus Magazine

Focus Magazine 2018 H1  

Focus Magazine